JULY 19, 8:54am: The Kings and Bjelica are discussing a two-year contract worth about $13MM with roughly $2MM guaranteed for 2019/20, sources tell international writer David Pick (Twitter link).
JULY 18, 2:57pm: Kings general manager Vlade Divac reached out directly to Bjelica to explain his value, tweets Charania. Krawczynski expands on that point, tweeting that the Kings and other teams have expressed to Bjelica that he’s “too good to go back to Europe.”
Meanwhile, international basketball reporter David Pick tweets that Bjelica felt “devalued” in his agreement with the Sixers. With EuroLeague powerhouses like Fenerbahce and CSKA Moscow not interested in him at this time, Sacramento may represent his best bet for a big payday, Pick adds.
Bjelica, who initially agreed to a one-year, $4.45MM deal with the Sixers early in free agency, backed out of that agreement on Tuesday. Reports at the time indicated that the former EuroLeague MVP would likely head back to Europe, with Bjelica explaining that he wanted to create “some kind of stability” for his family.
However, as Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor noted in a conversation last week with Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500, Bjelica entered the offseason seeking a multiyear NBA contract. His interest in remaining in the NBA seemingly waned when he was only able to secure a one-year deal, as he suggested in his interview with Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
If the Kings are willing to give him two or three guaranteed years, that may prompt the 30-year-old to reconsider his plan to head back overseas, particularly since not many EuroLeague clubs are in position to make a competitive offer, per Sportando (Twitter link).
It’s not clear yet what sort of deal the Kings would be willing to do with Bjelica, but they have more than $20MM in cap room available with only two roster spots still open, so they’ll have plenty of flexibility if they decide they want to bring the stretch four aboard.
Meanwhile, the Sixers figure to be less than thrilled about Bjelica’s about-face if he ends up signing on with another NBA club rather than playing in Europe.